Cat Hot Spots

"Cat hot spots have many causes including parasites, excessive grooming, infection, allergy or constant licking due to itch or pain. Treatment involves identifying the and eliminating the underlying problem."

Feline hot spots (acute moist dermatitis) occur most often on cats with long, dense coats. They are more likely to occur during hot weather. They are also more prevalent in longhaired cats. There are a number of possible causes, including insect bites (particularly fleas), mites, allergies, poor grooming, and ear infections.

Symptoms of Cat Hot Spots

Feline hot spots are round, raw lesions, usually found on the head, hips, and sides of the chest. They are moist and inflamed, and the hair will fall out in that area. They are quite painful. Your cat will usually scratch, lick or bite the area, irritating the skin even more. Hot spots are sometimes called “pyotraumatic dermatitis” (meaning self-caused skin inflammation) because the self-trauma is a major factor in the development of the sores. The sores can grow larger very rapidly.

Diagnosis of Cat Hot Spots

Hot spots on cats can mimic other skin problems, so your vet will need to examine them carefully to determine that is what they are. They may appear similar to some fungal infections, but your vet can rule those out with blood tests or by taking a swab of the affected area and examining it under a microscope.

Your vet will also look for possible causes of the hot spots. For instance, if the hot spots are on the ears, and ear infection is a likely cause. Fleas are also a common cause of hot spots on dog skin. Identifying the cause of the hot spots will direct the course of treatment.

Treatment of Feline Hot Spots

Treatment of feline acute moist dermatitis must be aimed at healing the hot spots as well as eliminating the cause. The cat hot spots are treated by first clipping the hair around the lesion. This allows air to get to the inflamed skin and makes it easier to treat the wound. The spot is then cleaned and a topical treatment is applied. If the wound is infected, oral antibiotics are prescribed. Oral anti-inflammatory medication may also be prescribed in severe cases.

The underlying cause of the hot spot must be identified and treated, or the problem will just keep coming back. Possible causes have been listed above. Any infections will be treated with antibiotics. Fleas and mites are usually treated with topical solutions or medicated shampoos. If poor grooming is an issue, your vet can instruct you on the best way to groom your cat.

If your cat has been examined and does not appear to be improving you might want to try a natural supplement that promotes skin and coat health such as PetAlive Skin and Coat Tonic for Healthy Skin and a Glossy Coat in Pets. Other alternative treatments include acupuncture when your cat is continually licking one part of the body due to a problem such as arthritic pain.


Smith, Marty DVM
Hot Spots: Acute Moist Dermatitis



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